Gibraltar: Yachts – Good For Business On The Rock

Last Updated: 18 September 2017
Article by Ian Le Breton

Spare a thought for Gibraltarians living in the UK as you welcome in September. There, the days are already noticeably shortening with each passing week, and was that, just maybe, a hint of rain in the wind? Oh dear. Back to the gloating season. Looking out from my terrace over Marina Bay, sitting in bright, warm sunshine, what of the view? Yachts. Hundreds of yachts. All shapes and sizes, bobbing (if that is a nautical phrase) on the crystal waters. And so on.

OK, enough of the Tourism Department-inspired spiel – although it is all perfectly true. To business and, specifically this month, to the yachting business and how Gibraltar benefits from this growing industry.

Regular readers may recall from previous columns that I prefer things that fly rather than float. I've done my fair share of piloting small aircraft and captaining boats back in the day, but the sky wins over the water for me any time. After all, you can spend all day pootling around in a yacht – and get precisely nowhere, particularly if the tide is against you. Pootle about carelessly in an aircraft and the consequences are highly likely to ruin your day! Maybe that is precisely why people love yachts. I do too, but for a far more practical reason – the business they bring to our Rock. Read on.

From a business viewpoint I estimate the value of the private marine industry to our local economy in two completely separate ways (although they are closely linked). First, there is the visible. We live in a tiny space but boast no less than three marinas. That's an awful lot of boats. And I'm sure that if extensions to the existing facilities or indeed brand new marinas were built, they would soon be full to capacity.

The reasons aren't hard to fathom. Gibraltar just about has it all when it comes to the marine leisure industry. The location of course is unbeatable. Imagine it. Totally secure, a commanding position at the mouth of the Mediterranean, exciting new ports in North Africa within touching distance and one of the great oceans just a few miles away. An international airport thrown in and what else was it? Oh yes, the climate – which is how I started this piece.

This location has ensured that Gibraltar has always punched well above its weight in terms of its maritime history. Although we see far fewer naval visitors than in the days of yore, the strategic advantages that appealed to naval commanders still pertain today for the leisure mariner.

It doesn't end there.  Once in Gibraltar, fuel is considerably cheaper, despite the pound's fall in value over the last year or so. Supplies of all kinds are also readily available and there is hardly anything you cannot find here. And remember, there is no VAT!

The economic advantages of all this activity are obvious. Visiting yachts in particular should be made especially welcome by all of us. Think of the opportunity. Apart from fuel and supplies for the vessels themselves, yacht captains and crews stay and spend some of their earnings here, be it in the bars and restaurants or some well-earned retail therapy after all that time aboard.

I referred earlier to the two separate ways in which the yachting industry plays a vital part in our economy. Everything above can be seen by the public. After all we cannot miss the fact that the marinas are full and who cannot be impressed by the increasing number of 'super' or even 'mega yachts' that visit every year? But, although it may be an unfortunate expression to use in nautical terms, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There are countless other business opportunities lurking beneath the surface.

Gibraltar is part of the Red Ensign Group, the elite of shipping registries, which comprises the UK, its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories. Indeed as a 'Category 1' member, Gibraltar can register ships of unlimited tonnage and type. I may return to commercial shipping in a future piece, but for now we'll just stick to yachts.

The Red Ensign or 'Red Duster' is, of course, familiar to all and much respected worldwide. In fact the flag that flies from Gibraltar-registered yachts should be the 'defaced' ensign that features 'the Union Flag in the canton and the badge of Gibraltar in the fly'.

The Gibraltar Yacht Registry is a thriving business and there are a number of local service providers who can assist in the process. Apart from the prestige and international recognition that derives from the flag itself, other practical advantages arise – the English language and a globally respected Common Law legal system. Any title issues should therefore be easier to manage and, should difficulties occur anywhere in the world, flying the Red Ensign allows access to British embassies and consulates where assistance will be provided.

Apart from the registration process, a Gibraltar company can also be used to hold ownership of a yacht. There are several advantages to this: limited liability should anything go wrong, or ease of sale through the simple transfer of shares in the yacht-owning company. Insurance can also be arranged locally to cover the yacht, its crew and all other aspects of its operation.

I mentioned earlier the lack of VAT in Gibraltar in the context of purchasing fuel and supplies. The same exemption applies to the yachts themselves. Strict rules apply to the 'temporary importation' of a yacht into European Union waters but, with proper advice and execution, the prospect is hugely attractive.

In essence it works like this. A Gibraltar-registered yacht owned by a non-EU resident can operate in EU waters VAT-free for up to 18 months. It must then leave the VAT area and obtain some form of documentary evidence that it has done so at the end of that time. This can of course be arranged in Gibraltar itself, or in Morocco or further afield if preferred. Changes brought in last year now mean that when re-entering the EU, an oral declaration must be made; this can be done most easily in one of our neighbouring Spanish marinas – Alcaidesa Marina just across the bay is ideal.

Too often in Gibraltar we are accused of not promoting ourselves with sufficient vigour. This cannot be said of the local professionals involved in the yacht industry. The Gibraltar Yachting Business Development Association (GYBDA) was officially launched in May last year to further develop the yachting and Super Yacht sector in Gibraltar by creating the right business conditions for its success That will be good for the industry and for all the rest of us because more yachts – and their crews – will be encouraged to visit and stay longer.

My good friend Gabriel González, the GYBDA's general secretary, reminds me that the association will be representing Gibraltar at the Monaco Yacht Show at the end of this month – proof indeed that our jurisdiction is playing at the top table in this game. Check out their website www.gybda.com

When next you visit one of our local marinas, stop a while. Look around and see how many Gibraltar-registered vessels you can see – and be proud. The leisure marine sector provides vital additional income and value to our diversified economy. We should all embrace this exciting industry and welcome more yachts – and their crews – to Gibraltar.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

    Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of www.mondaq.com

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

    Disclaimer

    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

    Registration

    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

    Cookies

    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

    Links

    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

    Mail-A-Friend

    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

    Emails

    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .

    Security

    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions